About the OCRS
Established in 2016, the Online Centre for Religious Studies aims to promote and facilitate the academic study of religion for a wide and diverse audience.
Study religion online
Our courses will take you from the basics of what a religion is (or isn't!), right through to a detailed exploration of the key faiths alive today.
Download free digital resources for personal use, or to assist in the classroom.
Karma-Yoga in the Bhagavad Gita
30 December 2019 | Luke Burns
One of the significant texts for Hindus is the Bhagavad Gita, itself part of a larger work - the Mahabharata, which tells the story of a conflict between two groups within the same family, the Kauravas and the Pandavas. The Bhagavad Gita takes place just before this conflict becomes violent, with both armies facing each other, and Arjuna (a Pandava) having second thoughts about the ethical difficulties the battle represents.
Who Creates Religion?
28 March 2019 | Luke Burns
If we're going to investigate religion, it's important to ask questions about who defines the subject of our investigation, and what relationship they have to the people and practices being studied. The modern study of religion, beginning in the 19th Century, has been traditionally driven by male European scholars, who have carried their own cultural biases and assumptions - some unconscious, others less so. Until recently, there had been little awareness of these assumptions, and this had affected the ideas and methods used by academics; naturally we will have to negotiate some of these potential pitfalls if we want to build a more comprehensive and accurate picture of religion in the modern world.
Dharma in Hindu Traditions
9 March 2019 | Luke Burns
If you've studied Indian religious systems, such as Buddhism and Hinduism, you may have encountered the Sanskrit word ‘Dharma’ (or its Pali equivalent, Dhamma). In fact, even if you haven't studied Indian religions, there's a possibility you'll have bumped into the term elsewhere (anyone remember the Dharma Initiative from TV show Lost?). The word dharma comes from the Sanskrit root dhṛ, meaning “to hold fast, to make secure” (Doniger, 2010, p.